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From sports and leisure to music and the arts, Manchester offers everything you could want for enjoying time out.

In terms of sport, there are the two premier football clubs, and first-class cricket at the 'other' Old Trafford - itself a Test match venue. There's also the City of Manchester Stadium, the National Squash Centre, the Manchester Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome.

If you prefer taking part, there's plenty to enjoy with facilities for just about every activity you can imagine, from rock climbing in the nearby Pennines and Peak District to the UK' s longest - and the world's widest - real-snow indoor ski slope at the Chill Factore.

Musically, the city boasts two symphony orchestras - the HallĂ© and the BBC Philharmonic, together with the Lowry Centre and an internationally acclaimed Opera House. The city's premier music venue is the Manchester Arena, one of the largest and busiest indoor arenas in the world with some 21,000 seats. Add Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy, as well as the Roadhouse and Ruby Lounge and you can see why Manchester has been able to foster the emergence of such bands as The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis and Doves.

Elsewhere, the city has over 130 parks, gardens, and open spaces, including the award-winning Heaton Park - one of the largest municipal parks in Europe. Adding the finishing cultural touch, many works of international significance are held in the city's numerous museums and galleries, including The Cornerhouse and the Lowry Museum in Salford Keys. The Manchester Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry both come highly recommended, while the Imperial War Museum North is also full of fascinating stuff, and the award-winning building - by architect Daniel Libeskind - is a visitor attraction in its own right.

"When I go back home to California, people ask me if I'm homesick. How can you be homesick in Manchester? There's so much going on here." Mark Delaney Robinson, captain of Manchester Giants basketball team

"Manchester's got everything except a beach." Ian Brown, former lead singer with The Stone Roses

Places to go